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In the past, when it comes to buying my boys school uniform, I’ve been guilty of leaving it to the last minute. Deliberately. Boys grow massively over the summer holidays and I’ve tried to make sure that their uniform is a good fit for the first day of term (that’s my excuse and I am firmly sticking to it!)

Now that our three bigger boys are at high school, apart from trousers, their uniform needs to be bought – at massively inflated prices – from the school itself.

But this year Munchkin starts full time school *wipes a tear* and I have been determined that I wouldn’t have the mad dash around the shops, desperately trying to find uniform that fits him, so when I was invited to Matalan head office to view their new school uniform range, I was thrilled!

When we arrived we were greeted and taken to a room showcasing the latest fashions for girls and boys. We were asked to choose our most and least favourite outfits and explain why. I was really taken aback – the boyswear was fabulous! The nightwear was great, cute little onesies and traditional style pyjamas in a lovely warm, fleecy fabric, with characters that children will really want. And I’ll admit that I was looking at the baby clothes with real interest – as my very first niece is due in a few weeks.

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We were then split into small focus groups to discuss our views on Matalan, how we shop and when we shop. They wanted to know our views on the competitors too and whether Matalan is a destination store. I must admit, it hasn’t been for me in the past, maybe because our local store is in the shadow of a big retail park, but seeing the ranges on offer, my eyes have definitely been opened!

After a really lovely lunch – and a chance to chat with other bloggers, old faces and new – we were given a short presentation on the design and manufacturing process and the stringent testing that Matalan put their clothes through. We were also told about the clever little design changes for this year, which include elasticated waist on school trousers that have the adjustable waist to prevent the bunching effect if your child has a tiny waist, velcro on the top button of the school shirts, softer collars and even a change in the glue used in collars (to prevent that unattractive bubbly effect you get after several washes).

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We then went on to watch a short video about how the school shoes are made. Incredibly, each one is made by hand and Matalan regularly measure the feet of growing children to ensure the fit of their shoes is current and relevant to today’s school children. It’s a process that surprised me and Matalan really pride themselves on quality at amazing prices!

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At the end of the day we were treated to a goody bag containing (but not limited to) a multi pack of soft school socks, a cap and sunglasses for Munchkin and a gorgeous candle for me. We also received some vouchers toward the cost of uniform.

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Now, as I said at the beginning, I was determined not to leave it to the last minute so the following day we headed to our local store to get Munchkin’s uniform.

I managed to get two pairs of grey school trousers (one in the size he needs now and a slightly larger pair for when he has his spurt of growth) at £5 per pair. Along with 6 white polo shirts (2 packs of three) at £4 a pack. I also spotted a gorgeous pair of shoes for him whilst at head office but they aren’t in store yet so photos to follow when I find them.

I cannot thank Matalan enough for a wonderful day and I hope to work with them again in the future

*DISCLAIMER – although the vouchers and goody bag were given to me but the words and opinions are my own*